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Old 09-07-13, 10:44 PM   #1
daihard 
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What is the front reflector for?

Probably a typical newbie question, but I can't help wondering what purpose the front reflector serves. In the daytime, I don't think it matters much if at all. At night, you're supposed to use an active headlight. In fact, the local state law (Washington) doesn't say anything about front reflectors while it does say that a bike operated at night must have a red rear reflector. Am I missing something here?
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Old 09-07-13, 10:56 PM   #2
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In Pa there is a requirement for passive and active front lighting, though most will not worry about it in the presence of an active light. The advantage is that if you have a weak light or none at all, it will return a brighter signature to the sender/ie car to alert for intersections or left turns.
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Old 09-07-13, 11:06 PM   #3
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In Pa there is a requirement for passive and active front lighting, though most will not worry about it in the presence of an active light. The advantage is that if you have a weak light or none at all, it will return a brighter signature to the sender/ie car to alert for intersections or left turns.
I see. That makes sense. It's interesting how state laws on bicycles differ.
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Old 09-07-13, 11:15 PM   #4
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The CPSC has mandated the inclusion on all bikes since 1/1/1975. http://cs.cpsc.gov/ConceptDemo/Searc...cle+reflectors
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Old 09-07-13, 11:21 PM   #5
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The CPSC has mandated the inclusion on all bikes since 1/1/1975. http://cs.cpsc.gov/ConceptDemo/Searc...cle+reflectors
Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
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Old 09-07-13, 11:54 PM   #6
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Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
Not an attorney, but I'll give this a shot.

CPSC is Federal, so what they say goes. Manufacturers have no clue as to what bike will be sold in what State when it is built, so they go by the default minimum standard set by the CPSC. Also, though a bike may be required to have more stringent standards at the State level for riding at night, how is the Manufacturer/Distributor or the LBS supposed to know if the bike will be ridden at night? It is up to the End User to familiarize and comply with the law.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:10 AM   #7
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Would you mind elaborating on this? Do the CPSC regulations override state bicycle laws?
As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.
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Old 09-08-13, 07:25 AM   #8
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As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.
Correct. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national standards for products sold. What you do with them afterward it out of their purview.
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Old 09-08-13, 08:30 AM   #9
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Not an attorney, but I'll give this a shot.

CPSC is Federal, so what they say goes. Manufacturers have no clue as to what bike will be sold in what State when it is built, so they go by the default minimum standard set by the CPSC. Also, though a bike may be required to have more stringent standards at the State level for riding at night, how is the Manufacturer/Distributor or the LBS supposed to know if the bike will be ridden at night? It is up to the End User to familiarize and comply with the law.
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As I recall, the CPSC (federal) regulations require manufacturers, importers and retailers to make sure that every new bike has minimal passive lighting. They don't apply to actual use and operation of the bike--that's where state and local ordinances come in.
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Correct. Consumer Product Safety Commission sets national standards for products sold. What you do with them afterward it out of their purview.
Thanks guys. I understand where they stand now.
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Old 09-08-13, 09:23 AM   #10
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At night, you're supposed to use an active headlight. Am I missing something here?
Uh - maybe because everybody doesn't follow the rules all of the time?
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Old 09-08-13, 09:29 AM   #11
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The German dynamo Head Lights are incorporating a reflector around them, too , for a passive reflection surface .

some like the E Delux there is a reflector in the mount. , others Its surrounding the Light.


but stupid can defy common sense..

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Old 09-08-13, 09:31 AM   #12
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Uh - maybe because everybody doesn't follow the rules all of the time?
Maybe. I guess the reasoning there would be that people may not actively go out and buy an active light but wouldn't bother to take off the existing front reflector either.
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Old 09-08-13, 09:59 AM   #13
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Maybe. I guess the reasoning there would be that people may not actively go out and buy an active light but wouldn't bother to take off the existing front reflector either.
Exactly. They would passively leave the passive lighting alone. A lot of people lack the knowledge or don't have the funds to put real lights on their bikes. But most people would leave the standard reflectors alone, since people think they're kind of important.

Decent LEDs front and back would cost as much as the new bike cost in some cases, especially if it's a discount store kids bike.
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Old 09-08-13, 11:06 AM   #14
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Decent LEDs front and back would cost as much as the new bike cost in some cases, especially if it's a discount store kids bike.
Not unless the bike costs less than around $25. The output isn't 1200 lumens but it's pretty close to 600 lumens which is a very bright light.
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Old 09-08-13, 12:35 PM   #15
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Not unless the bike costs less than around $25. The output isn't 1200 lumens but it's pretty close to 600 lumens which is a very bright light.
They keep getting cheaper! That will help a lot of us poor or frugal cyclists.
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Old 09-08-13, 01:03 PM   #16
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They keep getting cheaper! That will help a lot of us poor or frugal cyclists.
Even those of us who aren't poor can see the value in a 600 lumen light for that cheap. And new ones are coming along all the time.
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Old 09-08-13, 03:26 PM   #17
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Front reflectors, whether plastic reflector or reflective tape, are better than nothing at night if there is no headlight or if the headlight dies.
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